Prewitt enjoys her return to Vicksburg

Published 12:30 am Sunday, June 25, 2017

In the summer of 1979, Cheryl Prewitt was crowned Miss Mississippi. Later that same year, she would go on to become Miss America 1980.

Now after more than 30 years, the Ackerman native returned to Vicksburg and served as the Miss Mississippi Pageant mistress of ceremonies.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Prewitt said she felt a bit nervous about taking on the role, but said the job had been fun and healing.

“This week has been so much more than I thought it would be. It is almost like coming full circle for me — a healing process in some ways,” Prewitt said, as tears welled up in her eyes.

Not a healing process from the pageant world, she said, but a healing process from a life tragedy.

“I lost my daughter,” Prewitt said, and with this life-altering wound, embracing the pageant world, which is filled with young women, had previously been too painful.

“But for whatever reason,” she said, the week had been easy due to the exceptional group of contestants.

“They are an unusually really pretty group of girls on the inside, and they are pretty on the outside,” Prewitt said, adding that getting to know the young women had been one of the highlights of her week.

“I love getting to share with them that I lost for five years and that all I remember from competing are the good things even though bad things happened,” Prewitt laughed.

“I also told them it doesn’t matter what you think is the worst thing that happened this week, because it might be the best thing. For example, I said, ‘if you fall or you freeze, it is what made you memorable. You all are great, so what’s going to make you stand out sometimes is what you think is the greatest disaster of the week.’”

And if a contestant does not win, Prewitt said she encouraged them to try again.

“I told them they should go for it and go for it and go for it until they win or until they reach the maximum age limit. Being in the Miss Mississippi pageant really does change you,” she said.

“People might think competing makes a girl prideful, it does the opposite. It makes you stronger.”

Prior to the announcement of Friday night’s preliminary winners, Prewitt sang “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” the song she performed the night she was crowned Miss Mississippi. It was also the song she performed during the talent portion of the Miss America Pageant.

Prewitt is married to Harry Salem, II, and the couple travel the world ministering the gospel.

The couple has written more than 35 books and have produced numerous music and ministry CD’s.

In addition to Prewitt’s late daughter, Gabrielle, the couple has two sons, Harry and Roman.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart